Price paid: A$ 230
Purchased from: Cash Converters (Secondhand)
Sound — 9
I play three guitars with this head, they are a 2010 Ibanez RG7321, 2009 Ibanez RG170DX and an Epiphone Les Paul Special II. All three guitars are exactly as I bought them with no hardware changes made them whatsoever. As mentioned previously I predominantly play heavier styles of music such as metal and hardcore, which this amp is pretty amazing for. However, for these tones you have to kick in the solo boost on the rhythm channel otherwise there isn't enough gain. On this solo boost channel you have plenty of gain on tap which makes it perfect for all your metal styles as the Shape control on this channel can alter your sound massively. Since the Solo channel is a boost off the rhythm channel, the 3-band EQ applies to this channel two, so any changes made on the EQ on the Rhythm will be heard also in your Solo channel. But by using the Shape control you can adjust it anyway you want to get a good tone out of it. So lets talk tones, on the Solo channel having the Shape control turned all the way up will cut your mids and give you a tone with strong bass presence good for death metal and lower tunings as it packs a super amount of punch. Having the shape at about 3 O'clock will give you a good Metallica-esque sound, with the mids thrown in the mix a bit more but still with plenty of beef on those lower notes. At 12 o'clock you have a neutral setting, which if you go a little bit closer to about 1 O'Clock you can get some mid tones similar to that of Children Of Bodom. I find this range also better for the soloing aspects of playing as theres an even mix of mids and highs. As you turn more towards 0 on the Shape you begin to get more treble, good for black metal tones but which is also a danger zone for those (like me) who play at high gain levels as the feedback grows and grows the closer you get to 0. Thats about it for the Solo channel, plenty of gain, which gives a kind of "whipsy" sounding distortion and a good amount of versatility in tone. The Rhythm channel is good for hard rock and bluesy tones, playing around with the EQ you can get tones not disimilar to Led Zeppelin and AC/DC, but as mentioned before, there is not enough gain on this channel, in my opinion, for metal sounds. It has a good range though, for example if you dial back the gain on this channel as close as you can to 0 you can get a nice crunchy kind of clean tone, which I quite enjoy. The clean channel is quite amazing, doesn't crack up at high volumes and the EQ is fairly responsive. I don't play too much clean stuff, but fiddling with the EQ you can get quite a variance in the tones you want, and in conjunction with the built in reverb it can produce some really relaxing and soothing sounds. This amp is quite loud, it sits on top of a Behringer BG412V in my room, which means I only ever need the volume at 2-3. Due to the serious amount of gain on this head, you will get feedback fairly easily if things are cranked. In a larger room this happens around volume 5/6 whilst in smaller rooms at about 4 it becomes unbearable. So I suggest some kind of noisegate or suppresion in order to eliminate this if you're playing live. However with the right set up you can avoid the feedback enough to Jam with your buddies clearly overiding the volume of the drums with no hassels.
Overall Impression — 9
Overall this is a great head for the price, I doubt there is much more value for money when it comes to beginner heads. It's got all the features you need as well as great versatility in sound as well as seemingly good durability. Although I have one grievence with it, on the distorted channels you do get a bit of buzz in the background, which would easily be alieviated with a noisegate, but it is annoying until you get used it. Other than that this is quite a perfect amp for people who like myself who have been playing for around 2 years and are ready to get more involved with jamming and forming bands. If it were stolen, I'd be pretty cut up about it, although I'd look for another one, but since its a discontinued model, good luck to you! I'd go for the Crate Flexwave 120H, which as far as I am aware, is the re-realese of this amp. I compared this head with other second hand heads such as a Marshall MG100hdfx, which has nowhere near enough distortion for myself, whilst other heads in a similar price range, don't offer the versatility and features that this head does. This head is quite amazing for its price, which is the Killer bonus, its got a great sound especially for the jaw-droppingly low price.
Reliability & Durability — 8
Since mine is second hand I don't know its exact history, but it seems to be in good nick and since having it I haven't had a problems with it so in the instance of a gig, I'd be perfectly happy to play with this head, although its probably better suited to being a back up head as it is more of a beginner style amp. It seems sturdy and durable so I believe it would be a fairly decent gigging amplifier.
Features — 8
The Crate GT1200H is a 120 watt solid state amp head. It is quite versitlies and has a great amount of features for the price such as, 3-channels (Clean, Rhythm and Solo), 3 way footswitch, built-in reverb, CD input and an effects loop. It has a 3-band EQ for the Clean channel which also exist on the Rhytm channel with the obvious gain control whilst on the Solo there is only a Shape control as well as a gain one. I predominantly play metal and hardcore and this amp seems to work well with these styles, but as I mentioned before it has great versatility for a range of styles anywhere from country tones to the most brutal of death metal. Definitely for it's price, I think the amount of features on this amp is quite astonishing and is definitely a great, first amp head.